Combustible Celluloid
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With: Scott Speedman, Sarah Bolger, Sarah Gadon, Lily Cole, Judy Parfitt, Melissa Farman, Laurence Hamelin, Gia Sandhu, Valerie Tian
Written by: Mary Harron, based on the novel by Rachel Klein
Directed by: Mary Harron
MPAA Rating: R for some bloody images, sexuality, drug use and language
Running Time: 83
Date: 09/06/2011

The Moth Diaries (2012)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Wing Fever

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Coming from the intense, button-pushing director Mary Harron, of American Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page, The Moth Diaries is a disappointment.

Recovering from the suicide of her father, Rebecca (Sarah Bolger) attends an all-girls boarding school. She looks forward to seeing her best friend, Lucie (Sarah Gadon), again. But as they prepare for the best year ever, a new girl, the creepy Ernessa (Lily Cole) turns up and begins stealing Lucie away from Rebecca. Rebecca notices that Lucie has stopped eating and looks rather weak and sick, but no one listens to her. Not even the handsome poetry teacher Mr. Davies (Scott Speedman) can help. Worse, Rebecca begins seeing creepy things, visions and other weird events, involving Ernessa; these include a bloody rainstorm, or a glimpse of Ernessa passing straight through a glass window. Can Rebecca get to the bottom of these mysterious events?

Ostensibly made as an angst-filled teen horror movie in the vein of Twilight, it doesn't really have an idea of its own identity. For example, the boarding school is supposed to be on the site of an old hotel, but this is not really used in any interesting physical way.

Scenes start arbitrarily in various locations throughout the school with no real sense of place or time. As a result, the characters seem lost. Likewise, the movie fails to balance the vague vampire themes and more overt themes of suicide. However the movie makes good use of Lily Cole (also in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), an actress with a truly unique look who, like Elsa Lanchester or Barbara Steele, seems destined for a great career in genre films.

Best Buy Co, Inc.